Even though Tim Tebow was not able to pull-out another Mile High Miracle against the New England Patriots last Sunday (tough for any team when you turn the ball over three times in your own half of the field), perhaps a greater miracle was unfolding on the Sean Hannity Show. Sitting in for Sean, Guest Host Monica Crowley interviewed Boomer Esiason, the former NFL quarterback and current CBS football analyst, about football in general and Tim Tebow in particular.
I have been especially critical of Esiason because of what I perceived as his (and Dan Marino’s) mocking of Tim Tebow last season. That biased mocking, which continued this season, was not always confined to an analysis of Tebow’s on-the-field performances, but also included commentary which came across as a knock against Tebow’s overt display of faith.
Esiason, like many others, believe that Tim Tebow wears his religion on his sleave. When Esiason says that, he can’t help but view what Tim does on the field through the lens of faith However, I would argue that Tebow does not wear his religion on his sleeve (that’s not really what Christians are supposed to do), but rather wears the righteousness of Christ like a garment covering his entire body. What Esiason and others fail to understand is that a Christian’s faith (whether it’s Tim Tebow or someone else) should not be separated from the person. Our faith should overflow in our life 24/7. I said should because no one — including Tim Tebow — lives out their faith perfectly. But, when Christ is the center of our life, we will take the name of Jesus with us wherever we go, even on the football field. That’s perhaps why Tim Tebow, in the midst of a hard-fought game against the Patriots, could lift up a prayer for Andre Carter, who suffered a season-ending injury on Sunday.
It’s unfortunate that just the mention of the name “Jesus Christ” elicits such strongly negative opinions against Tim Tebow. He is certainly not alone in receiving his fair share of mocking and ridicule, although he is in a far more public position than many Christians who face similar “attacks.” Of course, Jesus tells us that those who endure hardship on account of Him will ultimately be blessed!
There’s no question that Tim Tebow has been blessed. He has been blessed with a God-given athletic ability to play the game of football. But, he has been blessed in a much more significant way. Tim Tebow has been blessed that he might not just win football games, but that he might ultimately use his fame to bless others and to lift up the name of Jesus Christ. It’s that perspective on football, faith, and life itself that often perplexes and frustrates so many within the sports world. They can’t understand how Tebow could respond to a question by NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington: “How is the strength of your faith impacted after a loss?”
“It puts things in perspective,” Tebow said. “God is still God. I still have a relationship with Christ, and a loss doesn’t change anything. Win or lose, everything is still the same. What matters is the girl I’m about to see, Kelly Faughnan. If I can inspire hope in someone, then it’s still a good day.”
When other NFL players are being arrested for cocaine possession, Tim Tebow is thinking of others before himself. How many sports figures are known for that? In our self-centered culture, Tim Tebow is a counter-cultural phenomenon who has won football games and in the process won over a nation, including some of his most vocal critics. One such critic — Boomer Esiason — actually said that he was wrong about Tebow. While still arguing that Tebow needs to improve his passing skills (I’m sure not too many people would disagree with that assessment), Esiason now believes that what Tim Tebow does on the football field “is pretty amazing.” Boomer even admitted that “he (Tebow) does things I could never do.”
All I can say is, Wow! If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season if Boomer Esiason would ever have anything nice to say about Tim Tebow’s football skills (we all know Boomer would love to have Tim as a son-in-law), I would have said no way. In the last nine weeks, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos have won 7 out of 9 games they have played and are in a position to win the AFC West. While Tim Tebow continues to confound (and convert) his critics, he would be the first one to tell you that there’s more to life than winning football games. When Tebow’s critics begin to realize that, something greater than a Mile High Miracle will have occurred. Just win, baby! Better yet. Just believe!